Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Boy Zero: Volume One [Part One] - Caliber Comics

BOY ZERO: VOLUME ONE, January 2016
Described by “Caliber Comics” as “an epic noir tale spanning decades and two separate murder mysteries”, this opening chapter to “Boy Zero” predominantly focuses upon Detective Drekker seemingly solving a string of gory murders committed by a seriously sinister bald-headed serial killer, and in doing swiftly draws the reader into a terrifying world of brutalisation, bloody terror and truly repugnant police interrogation techniques which actually leaves its bed-bound victim both dead and saturated in another person’s urine; “During the excitement of the moment Mister Fich released his bladder…” So massively mature a tone may well disgust or revolt any perusing bibliophile haplessly flicking through this comic book whilst stood at the spinner rack, but for those who venture deeper into the sordidly dark world of Glass City, Charles Chester’s enthralling penmanship should easily have them ‘on the edge of their seats’ as the obese cigar-chomping detective spends a pulse-pounding thirty minutes racing sixty-three miles in a marked car so as to stop the death of Miss Hagen.

Interestingly however, the “award winning” filmmaker’s plot isn’t simply a straightforward tale of one of the portly policeman’s more grisly investigations, as its occasional decade long time jumps denote. Instead, the published author’s narrative also provides plenty of mystery in an underlying story-thread which sees artist Shiloh Penfield proficiently pencil the “hero detective” being psychologically analysed by a doctor so that the Mayor can force him into early retirement and ‘satisfactorily’ sign-off another chain of homicides against Nigel’s instinctive better judgement.

This additional scene, admittedly tremendously dialogue-heavy, yet absolutely crammed full of atmosphere, really brings some depth to Drekker’s potentially dislikeable character, so that by the time the foul-mouthed law enforcer is depicted allowing his partner Kip to nauseatingly torture their suspect in a secure hospital ward towards the end of “The Ember Rose”, it’s clear that the man does so “because I am not particularly fond of explaining to parents why their child has been hacked into little pieces” as opposed to being some sadistic tormentor in his own right. Indeed, the policeman’s sole motivation in life appears to be that “on my best day I may be able to prevent” such a thing from happening, and resultantly he’ll question a fellow officer’s manhood if they’re driving too slowly, as well as repeatedly verbally abuse his work colleagues, just to ensure he catches his suspect before they try to kill again.
Written by: Charles Chester, and Artwork by: Shiloh Penfield

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